Tuesday, March 24, 2015

And this was without drugs

On Sunday night, for the first time in over ten days, I didn't take the awesome cough syrup with codeine that has given me wonderful, cough-free nights (didn't remember until I was in bed, and the room was cold, while the bed was toasty warm...).

Rather the opposite of what you would think, an unmedicated sleep left me with some interesting dreams.

The one that has stuck with me since, while I can't remember all the details, was a bit different from what I usually end up with when my unconscious takes the driver's seat.

The setting was a music festival/workshop of sorts, though through the entire dream, only three people were present. I was incredibly excited, as I'd long been wanting to take guitar lessons with the particular musician who was supposed to be teaching (note: I do play guitar, so this wasn't all that far removed from reality).

The teacher, who morphed between looking like Vince Gill and Mario Batali (the orange crocs were a dead giveaway), was running around doing various different things. At the appointed time for the much anticipated lesson, Vince turned into Mario and had to scurry off to make lunch. There was no guarantee he would return (and morph back into Vince) for the lesson.

At this point, the third character intervened. He'd been there, in the background, the entire time, and I understood him to be some sort of assistant to the busy musician/chef. He suggested that to pass the time while waiting, we sing a duet of an old hymn.

He started playing, we started singing...it was the sweetest thing I'd ever heard. I wasn't sure I knew all the words to the second verse, but as soon as it came up, the words were just there. On to the third and last - I hated for it to end.

And...that's when I woke up.

It's the hymn that's stuck with me. Every so often, the combination of musicians, music and the arrangement of the stars blesses you with a sublime, incandescent, heavenly performance, and this was one of them.

I'm left, however, with one little problem. For the life of me, I cannot remember what the hymn was. It was an actual, older church hymn, recognizable in real life, one for which I know most of the words (but apparently not the second verse). The title is just beyond the edges of my recall, and it is making me crazy. I knew it in the dream. It may be time to dig out the hymnal after work and see if I can find it.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping the presence of these kinds of dreams doesn't mean I'm still sick...this is the start of week four. The cough is mostly gone, though it is still periodically "productive", if you know what I mean. Still more tired than usual, though it's been improving.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

No satisfaction

For the last week, billboards have been popping up around town with the Rolling Stones' logo, teaser lyrics and the word "Thursday". Some teasers also seem to indicate this will be an outdoor show.

The last time the Stones were in town is ten years ago; the last time they played an outdoor venue in the area was almost two generations ago.

The buzz around town is that the venue isn't the 43,000-seat Miller Park. Alpine Valley, a nearby mega-concert park, is run by the arch rival of the Stones' promoter, so that is out. That leaves the Marcus stage at the Summerfest grounds - a paltry, 23,000-seat amphitheater. The Rolling Stones have long been a dream "get" for the ten day music festival.

Unfortunately, representatives for the band say the announcement has been postponed, citing issues with a nationwide ticketer.

While I've never been a fan, I'm at least familiar with the cultural force that the band has been. These days, you go to their concerts less to listen to a geriatric, out-of-tune band than for the "experience" of being at one of their concerts.

But is it really worth the almost prohibitively expensive, hard to procure ticket, the impossible parking and incredible crush of (most likely drunk, high, or geriatric themselves) people?

Inquiring minds want to know. I'm sure the show will sell out in minutes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

One of those

Just a month after dropping a smallish fortune on car repairs, prompted by the appearance of the "check engine" light (as you may recall, they determined the sensor for the light was bad, and replaced it), you can imagine I was a bit perturbed when said light made a return visit this morning.

Not happy.

I've wasted two vacation days on this already. The earliest appointment they had was around five thirty today, but I had a grocery delivery scheduled. I don't want to have to drive it over there in the middle of the workday, so I'm going in immediately after work tomorrow. Hopefully, they can diagnose it right away. If I have to be without a car Friday, heads will roll.

Got home around quarter after four, ate a quick dinner and started picking up the house. The grocery delivery was scheduled between seven and nine. They send an e-mail telling you your delivery is next, then one that says your driver is here. The second email is sent before they start taking your order out of the truck, so there is generally a five to ten minute warning before they are actually at the door.


At twenty after six, someone knocked loudly on the front door. I almost didn't answer it; I was expecting a package, and the delivery guys will pound on the door (and then walk away without waiting for anyone to answer).

Good thing I did check, as it was the grocery order. Forty-five minutes early.

Granted, I'd rather get it early (and thus be able to get to bed on time, rather than having to unpack everything late at night (well, nine p.m. is late for me)), but I was a little put out. Generally, if they are going to be early, you get a call from the distribution center. I haven't checked the phone, but I certainly didn't hear it ring, and I was in the same room with it. When I checked after the driver left, the only email I had was the one telling me the driver was here.

Sigh. If I hadn't opened the door, or hadn't been home (since my delivery window hadn't started yet), I would have missed the delivery, and most likely had to pay for most if not all of it anyway. Sigh.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, the service runs smoothly. But the other one percent - ay.

On the plus side, the strawberries? Almost the size of a tangerine (an actual tangerine, not the little mandarins). I think one berry is an entire fruit serving all on its own. Lots of fresh stuff in this order - blueberries, carrots, celery, broccoli, mushrooms, lemons.

The lemons are for the chicken recipe linked in this post. As you may recall, I only made half the chicken last time, since my pan wouldn't hold a whole spatchcocked chicken. Reminder to self: take the chicken out of the freezer tomorrow morning, and get it in the marinade, in hopes of cooking it Saturday.

Absolutely no meats or chicken, in fact no proteins at all in this order, as I'm trying to cook through the contents of the freezer. I didn't quite get to making the salisbury steak last night, nor tonight, so it really needs to be made tomorrow, no matter how late I'm home from the auto repair place.

This week really isn't going as planned.

Still coughing a bit, but my ears are popping and I'm actually feeling a bit better, though I still tire easily. The cough med is letting me sleep through the night, but giving me strange dreams. One night, zombie hunting (made sense, as I'd watched two episodes of The Walking Dead that night). Last night, a convoluted here and there adventure, including a time when I was sitting in a theater, (lightly) smacking the people around me when they started to talk during the performance (Some of the neighbors were holding a conversation outside on the walk may have prompted that one).

Better go make a list of things to remember in the morning. Take out chicken. Make lunch. Take kindle and charger. Be sure to charge phone at work. Take an extra apple to eat whilst waiting for car...

Monday, March 16, 2015

The fickleness of a Wisconsin spring

Sigh. It is sixty-five degrees out. The massive pile of plowed up snow atop which we have been resting our garbage bags for weekly pick up has completely melted. Small pockets that are protected from the wind and get a lot of sun actually show a little bit of green.

I'm itching to get outside and do the spring clean up, ready to order the last of the plants I need to put in. Alas, while it is sixty-five degrees right now, the high over the weekend will hover around forty. A bit too soon to consider trimming the hydrangea (which made it successfully through the winter, it seems). Too soon, also, to do much else than clean up the last of the autumn leaves.

The last (usual) date of frost in Wisconsin is April 15th.

I'm even a bit leary of putting the welcome mat back outside the door. The snowplow people get their snowpants in a bundle if the mats are down when they come to shovel/snowblow. Understandable, but isn't winter when you need the outdoor mats even more than usual? The state of my foyer floor can attest to that.

While I'm anxiously waiting for spring, the wasps are not. I saw one flying around the upper patio window on Saturday, when it was so warm. Methinks a preventive spray of wasp stuff is needed around the upper eaves. If I continue to see them, I may call the management company. I've only ever seen at most three at a time, but better safe and all that.

At least with daylight saving time, I can go home and open the patio door for a while to let some fresh air in, without feeling as if I'm opening the place up to the minions of darkness.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

World's Biggest Whiner

I'm ashamed to admit I probably am a top contender for this title, at least at the moment.

If you recall, I came down sick about a week or so ago. Total congestion of head and chest, though thankfully always free of the dreaded sinus headache. Coughing like I'm expecting to turn myself inside out. Not fun.

Stayed home from work a couple days, went back a couple days, then rested through the weekend. Worked Monday, relapsed so badly Monday night I ended up not sleeping at all (PSA: coughing is not an adequate substitute for sleeping). Stayed home Tuesday, called to make a doctor appointment, and couldn't get in until this afternoon.

The verdict? The creeping crud, which I will probably get once or twice a year thanks to bum lungs and sinuses prone to allergies and general full-of-snotness.

Honestly, I felt pretty good today until I went to that appointment.

The doc's computer was down, so he had to give me the prescriptions on paper (a mild antibiotic (apparently the inside of my nose is hamburger-like, and the drainage down the back of my throat isn't just snot, but blood (sorry about the TMI)) and blessed cough stuff with codeine). That's in addition to the sample he gave me of a stronger daily inhaler to keep my bronchial passages open and a probiotic to protect my gut from the antibiotic. He also suggested I take a couple of days off of work. Heh. I laughed.

But the offer is there - all I have to do is call his office the day/s I'm out, and he will write what is needed. Unfortunately, I have a 3/15 deadline for something, and have already taken three days off in the last week and a half.

Anyway, after a twenty minute wait to have the prescriptions filled, plus another almost fifteen minute wait thanks to the slowest pharmacy tech on the planet and a pharmacist who insists on covering the company's ass...ets by trying to micro manage instructions to customers, I finally made it home.

Things seem much more zen now that I've taken a dose of the cough stuff.

I'm thinking this weekend is going to be another slow one, reading, napping, maybe cleaning a bathroom or two. Soup. If I can clear my desk tomorrow, and if I still feel so lousy at the end of the day, I may avail myself of the doctor's offer and take off Friday. The sad thing about this is that over the last week, we have finally had spring-like weather, clear, sunny and wonderfully warm. Hard to enjoy it when you are sick.

Now I'm going to turn out the lights on this little pity party, and enjoy a full night's sleep, thanks to the local pharmacy.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Yawn...what time is it?

Gah, I hate these stupid time changes. I never did change the car's clock last fall; now that it reads the correct time, I'm still used to subtracting an hour from the reading.

Changed the bedroom and bathroom clocks, one of the two timers on the living room lamps and the thermostat. The rest - eh, I'll get there. The phone and computers (except, for some reason, the one in the sewing machine) change themselves, fortunately.

Thanks to the never-ending head cold, I slept most of the weekend, including an actual eleven hour stint Saturday to Sunday. Still, I'm fading fast here. Having to get up at four-fifteen instead of nine or ten really makes a difference.

At least when I make a quilt, doing the nonsensical thing of cutting big pieces of fabric into little pieces, only to sew them back together into a big piece, the end result is both pretty and practical. You can't say the same about the shifting of time involved with DST.

After more than two weeks of tooling in to work in the brightening daylight, I had to make my way in the dark today. Urgh. Still, the temperature was above freezing, which is a vast improvement over last week.

Spring is kind of peeking around the corner of Winter's skirts, teasing us by stepping partway out, then pulling back. Flirt, always promising a little more than she is ready to follow through with.

In spite of hacking up a lung, I managed to make a really, really tasty chicken soup Saturday. The pot was big enough to last through lunch this coming Wednesday (I don't mess around when I make soup). A while back I picked up a package of little pasta stars (truly little, like an eighth of an inch across) specifically to use in soup. Why? No reason except they make me smile.

I'd better get in line to heat it up.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

On the upswing?

Back to work today, after two days of sleep, broth, cold meds and more sleep (of course, none of that sleep happened last night, when I woke up every half hour either because my head had slipped off the propped up pillows, letting all the congestion settle in my head and choke off my ability to, you know, BREATHE, or to go to the bathroom, the effect of all the fluids I'd been drinking).

I'm starting to fade a bit.

Last day of cold weather, or so say the weather gurus. We may reach (drumroll) FIFTY degrees next Wednesday. From Saturday on, we will be above freezing, so even if we don't hit that magic number, it's a win.

Since Saturday will be warm, sunny and snowfall-less, I'm going to trek out to the quilt shop to drop off the computerized machine for its annual exam. The repair guy is pretty caught up, so they say he should be able to look at it on Monday already. The added incentive to do this on Saturday in particular is that it is Bonus Bag Day - 19% off anything that fits in the shop totebag. Provided, of course, I remember to take my bag along in the first place.

Then back home to set up the other machine to machine quilt the tshirt quilt. The sewing desk is tailored to that machine: the machine drops into a well and has a custom made insert that fits around it, level with the surface of the desk. It's much easier to quilt when you don't have to lift the quilt up to the level of the machine. And while I call it the "old" machine, the truth is the Virtuosa sews as well today as it did when I bought it...seventeen years ago? At least fifteen...

The order, if I remember correctly, was new machine, sewing desk for the machine, new car. And since the "new" car is a 2003, I guess it's been almost fifteen years since the Virtuosa came to live with me.

Eh. Time for more cold pills, more water and a return to numbers. I have a feeling that I will end up having to double check everything I do this afternoon.